The Manchester Derby headlines a week in the Premier League fixture list filled with great matches. Covers' footy expert Soccer Authority breaks down what you need to know in four of the biggest games on the board.
Arsenal vs. Everton
In-form Arsenal will go top of the Barclays Premier League if they beat Everton at Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Arsenal have lost just one of their last 16 BPL meetings with Everton, but four of the last six have ended all square. However, Everton had a good record against Manchester United before that came to a sudden end last weekend with a 3-0 home loss to The Red Devils.
Arsene Wenger's men have scored 11 goals on their way to winning their last three top-flight fixtures and got their UEFA Champions League campaign back on track with a surprising 2-0 win against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. The Gunners beat Manchester United 3-0 in their last home league match, and beat Watford by the same score-line last Saturday.
Arsenal are in great form which is all the more surprising with some key players missing. Danny Welbeck (knee), Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Tomas Rosicky (knee) all remain sidelined, while Aaron Ramsey picked up a hamstring injury against Bayern and is facing a spell out of action. These games are often tight, and both will be absolutely desperate for the three points for different reasons. Arsenal will be keen to move top of the league, meanwhile 9th placed Everton will be keen to move nearer to the top four.
- Arsenal have lost only one of their last 16 Barclays Premier League meetings with Everton (W9 D6).
- However, the Toffees have lost only one of their last six BPL matches versus Arsenal with four of these fixtures ending in a draw (W1 L1).
- Arsenal’s joint Barclays Premier League record win (7-0) came against Everton; this was at Highbury in May 2005.
Liverpool vs. Southampton
Jurgen Klopp remains unbeaten as Liverpool boss, but there’s no doubt in our minds that he wants that first win sooner rather than later. An away draw at Spurs last weekend was followed up with a subdued 1-1 draw with Russian side Rubin Kazan in midweek in the Europa League.
Southampton’s 3-1 win at Chelsea in Match-week 8 was their first BPL away win since February 7th, ending a 10-match away winless streak (L6 D4). The Saints will be buoyed by this and will fancy their chances in recording another away win this weekend.
Pundits assumed that Klopp’s appointment would bring the most out of the Liverpool players, and this appeared the case in terms of work rate at least. The Reds ran 116 km in their first match under Jurgen Klopp last weekend – further than they had run in any single Barclays Premier League fixture since the start of 2013-14. They will really need to put in a shift to take maximum points from this game.
-Liverpool have enjoyed three Barclays Premier League wins in a row over Southampton, conceding only one goal in the process – that being scored by Nathaniel Clyne, who of course now plays for Liverpool.
- Just three of Southampton top scorer Graziano Pellè’s 17 Barclays Premier League goals have come away from home (18%).
- Pellè (5) has scored or assisted as many goals in his last four Barclays Premier League appearances as he did in his previous 11 in the competition.
Manchester United vs. Manchester City
This game is one of the most eagerly-anticipated games of any season and with both pushing for top-spot this game has even more significance. Manchester United and Manchester City must switch their focus from the Champions League to the Premier League when they meet at Old Trafford on Sunday in a derby that Louis van Gaal says will show whether United are “true title contenders”.
United face City after laboring to a 1-1 draw with CSKA Moscow in the cold Russian capital on Wednesday while City make the short trip across town basking in the glow of their late 2-1 home win over Sevilla. City clinched the win in the dying minutes of the game thanks to a strike from Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian has been a terrific asset since his big-money switch from Wolfsburg in the summer.
Manchester City have won six of their last eight Manchester derbies in league competition (L2). Prior to this run, Man City had won just six of their previous 42 derby matches versus Man United. This shows how City have grown in recent years and their fans will certainly fancy their chances going into this one, especially with Van Gaal’s men having made the long trip home from Russia to contend with.
- Wayne Rooney has scored 11 goals in Manchester derbies (all comps); more than any other player in this fixture.
- Rooney is 30 years old on the day before this match – no player has scored as many Barclays Premier League goals as he has by the age of 30 (187).
- Man United have won 17 of their 23 Barclays Premier League home matches under Louis van Gaal (74%), conceding only 16 goals (D3 L3).
West Ham vs. Chelsea
Slaven Bilic's West Ham have been a surprise success story on the road this season, winning four and drawing the other of their five Barclays Premier League matches away from home in 2015-16 - a run that includes victories at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.
However, results on their travels contrast sharply with those in front of their own fans, with just four points taken from as many outings. In the club's last season before their move to the Olympic Stadium, it is hardly the send-off the West Ham faithful would have wanted for the famous old Boleyn Ground and Bilic is keen to turn things around.
Chelsea have, of course, been another of this season’s surprise packages, but for all the wrong reasons. After cruising to the title by eight points last year, Chelsea have struggled in the start of their defense this time around with just three wins from the first nine matches. Jose Mourinho continues to be without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (knee) and Branislav Ivanovic (hamstring), while Loic Remy and Pedro (knocks) are doubtful.
Recent history is not on West Ham's side, however, as they have won just one of their last 18 BPL meetings with Chelsea. Bilic will be without defender Winston Reid (back), while on-loan winger Victor Moses is ineligible to face his parent club.
-West Ham United have won only one of their last 18 Barclays Premier League London derbies against Chelsea (W1 D3 L14).
- Chelsea have not conceded a single goal in any of their last five Barclays Premier League matches against the Hammers; last conceding in a 1-3 defeat in Dec 2012.
- West Ham have scored with a league-high 22% of their shots this season in the Barclays Premier League while only Manchester City (24) have scored more goals than the Hammers (20).